(BRIAN ROSENER ~ Daily American Republic)
POPLAR BLUFF -- With the Poplar Bluff Mules slowly chipping away at Jackson's early eight-run lead, the Indians turned to Bobby Clark in the seventh inning Thursday.
Clark shut the door on the Mules, pitching around a two-out walk, and Jackson held on for a 10-8 win.
"We needed a change of pace," Jackson coach Rob French said.
Jackson (7-8, 5-1 SEMO) scored four runs in each of the first two innings and led 9-1 after three. But the Mules (2-9, 1-5) rallied to bring the tying run to the plate in each of the last two innings.
Jackson starter Caleb Hosey gave up one run in three innings but had to leave the game with tightness in his arm, French said. Drew Coleman pitched three innings before Clark finished off the Mules.
"Drew came out and battled," French said.
Evan Watkins was 4-for-4 with a double, and Matt Crader had two hits and scored three times for Jackson. Clark and Hosey each drove in two runs, but the Indians scored one run over the final four innings and stranded 11 in all.
A day after scoring 11 against Dexter, the Indians scored 10 more on 12 hits and struck out only twice.
"Since we've come back from Mississippi, we've been swinging the bats really well," French said.
The Indians scored four in the first when Crader singled, stole second and reached third on an error before scoring on a delayed double steal. Andy Winkleblack hit an RBI double before a two-out RBI single by Hosey, who later scored on a balk.
After the Mules got a run in the bottom of the first with an RBI double by Brennen Moore, Jackson scored four more in the second.
Crader and Tyler Qualls hit consecutive one-out singles before Winkleblack loaded the bases with a walk. Clark then drew a walk, chasing Poplar Bluff starter Todd Bullington. Hosey hit a sacrifice fly to put Jackson up 6-1 before consecutive RBI singles by Watkins and Clay Baker.
Qualls' sacrifice fly in the third put Jackson up 9-1.
The Mules scored four in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth.
With the tying run at the plate and nobody out in the sixth, Coleman got out of the jam with a fly out, strikeout and grounder.
Hosey allowed one run on four hits in three innings.
WP -- Caleb Hosey. LP -- Todd Bullington. 2B -- McIntosh 2 (P), Thompson (P), Moore 2 (P), Andy Winkleblack (J), Evan Watkins (J). Multiple hits -- Jackson: Matt Crader 2-5, Winkleblack 2-4, Watkins 4-4; Poplar Bluff: McIntosh 3-5, Thompson 2-3, Moore 2-3. Records -- Jackson 7-8, Poplar Bluff 2-9.